Thursday, March 15, 2007

Charlie sees America the Amtrak way.....

One forgets just how big the USA is until you go coast to coast in one trip on Amtrak.

I left San Francisco at 8:20 AM on Sunday morning and arrived at South Station Wednesday evening at 7 PM.

The first day of the trip was enjoyable as the train went thru the Sierra Nevada mountain range on a perfect day and a California railroad museum had a narrator between Sacremento and Reno.

Then a long trip thru the Nevada desert as the train was forced to travel no faster than 30 because of track work being done by the Union Pacific. Monday brought Utah and Western Colorado on another perfect day but we were running 5 hours late.

Tuesday we awoke in Omaha and then spent the rest of the day traveling through Iowa and Illinois arriving in Chicago at 7:35 PM giving me 20 minutes to make the Boston train.

Wednesday at 7 AM we were forced to leave the train in Buffalo and take a shuttle bus to Albany as the tracks were closed because of a major accident near Syracuse. Trust me riding a bus after being on a train for 3 days is not fun.

My bags decided to stay in Chicago and hopefully will arrive today.....

Still I would highly recommend that everybody do the cross country trip ONCE....

9 comments:

Thom said...

I've wanted to do this for some time, now, but I've got little kids. How do you think a 3-year-old would deal with the Amtrak?

Charlie said...

All I can say is that there were small children on the train I was on and they seemed to enjoy themselves without driving other passengers nuts.

Amtrak rents DVD players for long trips preloaded with movies for kids and adults which seemed to help.

Andrew said...

Hahaha, "ONCE". That is exactly how I put it to my friends.

SJG said...

I agree. When I finally had 3 weeks of vacation, my first (and only) 2-week vacation was taking Amtrak cross-country. Went from Boston to Denver, where I stayed with a friend for several days. Then got back on and went to Seattle, where I stayed for several days. And then took the train all the way back via the northern route.

The best part was climbing te Rockies and going through the mountains after boarding the train at 9 a.m. in Denver (and the next day, going down along the Columbia River). Worst part was my leg from Chicago back to Boston, after having a bad burger at Bennigan's. The train was packed, and the only place to walk around was the lounge car, but it was the only place people could smoke.

Charlie said...

There is no longer a smoking car on Amtrak smokers get breaks every 4 to 6 hours. About an hour west of Denver the train goes thru a six mile long tunnel in the Rockies known as Moffatt Tunnel very impressive.

Charlie said...

MBCR and Amtrak share Back Bay, Framingham and Worcester.

Greg said...

Charlie you just missed this disaster commuter rail will be down for weeks

Tracks Still Burning, Repair Could Take Weeks

John Mc said...

The Bee has a bit more info. but yes, you missed having even more delays. :)

http://www.sacbee.com/749/story/139226.html

Bill said...

I have to say that traveling from Florida to Connecticut on Amtrak remains one of the most enjoyable travel experiences of my life.

I'm glad you had a good time Charlie. :)